Sometimes seen as a serious city full of large financial institutions and home to vast trade fairs, Frankfurt hides a much more frivolous side.
Filled with a thriving student community, great nightlife, beautiful open spaces and historic architecture, Frankfurt is a host of contradictions that exist in perfect harmony to create a city that will surpass your expectations.
With one of the best shopping areas in Europe and some of the most historic building of any German city Frankfurt is a perfect mix of the old and the new, skylines dominated by skyscrapers hide the historical buildings that are nestled in amongst them, making this a city of hidden delights.
Where to Stay
There are no shortage of good hotels in Frankfurt, but during the many trade fairs that it is famed for the cost of the accommodation may rise radically, as the rooms quickly become booked up.
For an opulent stay choose the Steigenberger Hotel with a great location close to the city centre and all the cities attractions almost on the doorstep. The hotel screams luxury at you, from the columns adorning the grand entrance to the polished wooden floors and deep plush carpets; set in a palatial courtyard the guests are made to feel like Royalty from the moment that they arrive. The splendour of the Neo Gothic building works in perfect harmony with the modern amenities setting this hotel apart from all the others.
For location without the high price the choice for many travellers is the Intercity Hotel, a railway hotel based in an attractive old building, this may not be grand but it is a more than adequate base for your break in Frankfurt. The close proximity to the railway station may not offer the best view of the city but its central location makes it the perfect place to explore the city from.
Where to Eat
The hearty nutritional food of the region is often overshadowed by the undeniable fact that this city is the home of the Frankfurter; a good sausage is one containing prime cuts of pork and smoked to perfection and there is no shortage of these in the city. Sauerkraut (pickled cabbage) is also popular as is the is local green sauce (eggs, vinegar and a combination of local herbs)
which is far pleasanter than the list of ingredients suggests. The local tipple of apple wine is also worth trying, particularly in the Ebbelvoi district which is famed for the tradition of serving apple wine in large earthen jugs.
For a traditional simple meal try Kartoffelkuche in the Bad Homburg district, the food is cooked well with a heavy emphasis on potatoes, worth visiting if only to peruse the menu to see exactly how many dishes they can serve that are made with potato. The potato based strudel dessert is a revelation for the uninitiated and only adds to the uniqueness of this restaurant.
For a much more modern take on German cuisine head to Gargantua in the Westend area, cleverly combining traditional ingredients with a French influenced style works perfectly, and the accompanying wine list deserves recognition in its own right.
What to Do
Frankfurt was one of the few German cities to enjoy renovation rather than redevelopment at the end of world war II and the Sachsenhausen district is the perfect place to visit to see the historic side of Frankfurt. Filled with traditional timbered buildings on sympathetically restored cobbled streets this is the ideal place to find an old tavern and to sip your apple wine as the world gently goes about its business.
For the best shopping in the city head to the Zeil shopping street, home to all the big names, designers clamour for retail space often compared to Fifth Avenue in New York this is the place in Frankfurt to find all the high class exclusive stores (or maybe a little window shopping).
When to Visit
Frankfurt is a beautiful city to visit at almost any time of year, winters are cold and the summers are pleasantly warm. Tourist attractions are open for much of the year as the city is host to visitors almost all of the year around, making Frankfurt a destination for any season.
Unless travelling on business the months of September and October are best avoided, as these are the peak exhibition and trade show months, this not only makes the city incredibly busy but also pushes the prices up making Frankfurt a much more expensive place to visit.